Based on: Jeremiah 18:1-11
Just north of Zhengzhou, China there is a road cut into the side of a cliff. It is less than a mile long and only about twelve feet wide with a wall of rock on one side and a sudden drop of hundreds of feet on the other side. It is called “The road that does not tolerate any mistakes”. It sounds like the title fits, don’t you think? On a road like that you have to constantly watch where you are going. You must always be careful to stay on the road. The Reformation is like that. The Reformation is a constant vigilance concerning God’s Word to make sure we stay on the road. We dare not think of the Reformation as an event in the past. No, the Reformation continues.
What does it mean to be confident? Webster’s dictionary says it is having a strong belief or a full assurance about something. Wouldn’t it be nice to live that way, with assurance and a strong belief that your life will go well? That would be nice. Of course, the opposite is uncertainty and doubt. No one wants to live like that.
Based On: Genesis 22:1-18
Have you ever had a child hurt himself or herself while doing something you had just told them NOT to do? You have in that situation a teachable moment. The event has created a unique learning opportunity for the child. So, after you take care of the immediate medical emergency you sit down with the child and gently say, “Do you understand why I told you not to do that? You know, Mom and Dad love you and when we tell you not to do something it is for your good.” The idea is that the unpleasant experience will make the lesson more memorable. It doesn’t always work.
Based On: Mark 1:4-11
(In the Gospel we heard about Jesus being baptized by John. For today, we will end up talking more about our baptism than Christ’s baptism, but the two are certainly related.)
Imagine being the subject of one of Christ’s miracles. What would it be like to be blind Bartimaeus when Jesus called for you and gave you your sight? Or what would it be like to be the paralyzed man who needed his friends to carry him wherever he went? What would go through your mind after Jesus tells you to “pick up your mat and walk” and you suddenly find yourself walking out the door carrying the mat that has carried you for so many years? Perhaps it would be just plain cool to be Lazarus as you wake up to find yourself in your own tomb dressed for burial and you hear the voice of Jesus calling you from death back to life. (Actually, you and I will have that very cool experience one day.)